Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, September 18, 2023



Zaid Abdulnasser, the coordinator of Samidoun Network’s chapter in Germany, and member of the Palestinian Alternative Revolutionary Path Movement, is currently being threatened by the German state that his residency as a Palestinian refugee born in Syria will be revoked due to his political engagement in Samidoun and Masar Badil.


In the face of this attack, more than 130 international organisations, unions, and political parties, have expressed their absolute refusal of Germany’s ever increasing repressive measures against Palestinian refugees and their fundamental right to struggle for their liberation and return.


We call for organisations to join us by signing the statement under the following link:



To financially support the legal defence of Zaid and other Palestinians in Germany bearing the brunt of the state’s repressive measures against Palestine, you can make a donation to the following account:


Name: Rote Hilfe e.V.

IBAN: DE55 4306 0967 4007 2383 17


Note: Palaestina gegen Repression


We, in Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, declare that all attacks against us by the zionist occupation, its organisations abroad, and by Western imperialist countries and right-wing, racist media, have not and will not change our absolute commitment to defending and supporting the Palestinian prisoners movement, and to struggle for the liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea.

Sign the statement!


Download the poster, take a selfie or group photo, and send it to us at: 


@samidounnetwork (Instagram) 

@SamidounPP (Twitter/X)!



Leonard Peltier’s Letter Delivered to Supporters on September 12, 2023, in Front of the Whitehouse


Dear friends, relatives, supporters, loved ones:


Seventy-nine years old. Mother Earth has taken us on another journey around Grandfather Sun.  Babies have taken their first breath. People have lived, loved, and died. Seeds have been planted and sent their roots deep below red earth and their breath to the Stars and our Ancestors.


I am still here.


Time has twisted one more year out of me. A year that has been a moment.  A year that has been a lifetime. For almost five decades I’ve existed in a cage of concrete and steel.  With the “good time” calculations of the system, I’ve actually served over 60 years.


Year after year, I have encouraged you to live as spirit warriors. Even while in here, I can envision what is real and far beyond these walls.  I’ve seen a reawakening of an ancient Native pride that does my heart good.


I may leave this place in a box. That is a cold truth. But I have put my heart and soul into making our world a better place and there is a lot of work left to do – I would like to get out and do it with you.


I know that the spirit warriors coming up behind me have the heart and soul to fight racism and oppression, and to fight the greed that is poisoning our lands, waters, and people. 


We are still here.


Remember who you are, even if they come for your land, your water, your family. We are children of Mother Earth and we owe her and her other children our care.


I long to turn my face to the sky. In this cage, I am denied that simple pleasure. I am in prison, but in my mind, I remain as I was born: a free Native spirit.


That is what allows me to laugh, keeps me laughing. These walls cannot contain my laughter – or my hope.


I know there are those who stand with me, who work around the clock for my freedom. I have been blessed to have such friends.


We are still here and you give me hope. 


I hope to breathe free air before I die. Hope is a hard thing to hold, but no one is strong enough to take it from me. 


I love you. I hope for you. I pray for you. 


And prayer is more than a cry to the Creator that runs through your head.  Prayer is an action.


In the Spirit of Crazy Horse



Write to:

Leonard Peltier 89637-132

USP Coleman 1

P.O. Box 1033

Coleman, FL 33521

Note: Letters, address and return address must be in writing—no stickers—and on plain white paper.









Drop the Charges on the Tampa 5!

Sign the Petition:


The Tampa 5—Gia Davila, Lauren Pineiro, Laura Rodriguez, Jeanie K, and Chrisley Carpio—are the five Students for a Democratic Society protesters at the University of South Florida who were attacked by campus police and are now facing five to ten years in prison for protesting Governor Ron DeSantis' attacks on diversity programs and all of higher education.


On July 12, 2023, the Tampa 5 had their second court appearance. 


The Tampa 5 are still in the middle of the process of discovery, which means that they are obtaining evidence from the prosecution that is meant to convict them. They have said publicly that all the security camera footage they have seen so far absolves them, and they are eager to not only receive more of this evidence but also to share it with the world. The Tampa 5 and their supporters demand full transparency and USF's full cooperation with discovery, to which all of the defendants are entitled.


In spite of this, the charges have not yet been dropped. The case of the five SDS protesters is hurtling towards a trial. So, they need all of their supporters and all parties interested in the right to protest DeSantis to stay out in the streets!


We need to demand that the DeSantis-appointed, unelected State Attorney Susan Lopez and Assistant Prosecutor Justin Diaz drop the charges.


We need to win this case once and for all and protect the right of the student movement—and all social movements in the United States—to exercise their First Amendment right to free speech and to protest.


Defend the Tampa 5!


State Attorney Susy Lopez, Prosecutor Justin Diaz, Drop the Charges!


Save Diversity in Higher Education!


Protesting DeSantis is Not a Crime!



Free Julian Assange

Immediate Repeated Action Needed to Free Assange


Please call your Congressional Representatives, the White House, and the DOJ. Calls are tallied—they do count.  We are to believe we are represented in this country.  This is a political case, so our efforts can change things politically as well.  Please take this action as often as you can:


Find your representatives:



Leave each of your representatives a message individually to: 

·      Drop the charges against Julian Assange

·      Speak out publicly against the indictment and

·      Sign on to Rashida Tlaib's letter to the DOJ to drop the charges: 

           202-224-3121—Capitol Main Switchboard 


Leave a message on the White House comment line to 

Demand Julian Assange be pardoned: 


             Tuesday–Thursday, 11:00 A.M.–3:00 P.M. EST


Call the DOJ and demand they drop the charges against Julian Assange:

             202-353-1555—DOJ Comment Line

             202-514-2000 Main Switchboard 



Mumia Abu-Jamal is Innocent!


Write to Mumia at:

Smart Communications/PADOC

Mumia Abu-Jamal #AM-8335

SCI Mahanoy

P.O. Box 33028

St. Petersburg, FL 33733



Update on Ed Poindexter and Urgent Health Call-In Campaign


Watch the moving video of Ed's Niece and Sister at the April 26, 2023, UN EMLER Hearing in Atlanta: https://youtu.be/aKwV7LQ5iww


You can also watch Ed speaking about himself some years ago thanks to Sister Tekla, who was able to interview Ed and Mondo some years ago: https://youtu.be/sps0s4zeJxg.

More of these videos will be forthcoming.


Ed needs to be released to live the rest of his life outside of prison, with his family! (His niece Ericka is now 52 years old and was an infant when Ed was targeted, stolen from his home, jailed, framed, and railroaded.)


Friends and Comrades,


Thank you so very much for your phone calls and communications in support of Ed Poindexter’s health care!


We have learned from Ed’s family that a date has been set for Ed to go to an outside doctor to be evaluated for a hearing device. (Thank you, callers!) We have also learned that Ed will not be fitted for a prosthesis within the foreseeable future. The reason for this is that Ed is unable to sit up for more than a few seconds on his own. He is unable to get himself out of bed by himself. Ed cannot go to the restroom without substantial help. There is a fear of him falling.


The prison’s response has been to suggest that Ed try harder at physical therapy—so that he might be able to tie his own shoes again and perform basic self-care—but he cannot. Our position is that he is too weak because of the near daily kidney dialysis and multiple other health problems. As you know, he has lost sight in one eye, and is unable to hear. While he may have been weakened by being wheelchair bound for years, the fact that the institution amputated his left leg below the knee (without notice to the family) has made recovery of strength in his legs difficult. Add to this that Ed is extremely ill from kidney disease, and the near daily kidney dialysis artificially making his kidney’s function causes him to vomit his food and makes him ill overall. All of these combined illnesses have resulted in Ed not being able to even hold his frame upright for more than a few seconds.


Therefore, in protection of Ed’s basic rights as a human being to health care and human dignity, we demand that Ed be seen by an outside high ranking National Medical Association Certified geriatric physician or team of physicians who specialize in heart, kidney, and geriatric health. We demand the evaluation be by a physician connected to a reputable hospital so that Ed’s entire condition: eyes, heart (recall that Ed underwent triple bypass heart surgery in 2016) kidneys, neuropathy, amputated leg, serious inability to balance his frame, and hearing can all be evaluated as a whole.


It is the family’s belief that Ed is experiencing a diminishing quality of life that it is irreversible, and we demand an outside doctor also evaluate him for this obvious fact. If it is determined by a reputable doctor that Ed is experiencing a diminishing quality of life; we want his status changed at the prison to reflect this reality.


Please call the numbers below and write to demand that Ed be seen by an outside doctor at a state-of-the-art hospital facility—for the purpose of evaluation specifically as to whether his condition is diminishing and irreversible—taken as a whole.


Ed Support Committee and Family and Concerned Members of the Community




Acting Medical Director Jeff Kasselman, M.D.: 402-479-5931 jeffrey.kasselman@nebraska.gov


Warden Boyd of the Reception and Treatment Center: 402-471-2861


Warden: Taggart Boyd

Reception and Treatment Center

P.O. Box 22800

Lincoln, NE 68542-2800

Phone: 402-471-2861

Fax: 402-479-6100


Jeff Kasselman, M.D.

Acting Medical Director,

Nebraska Department of Corrections

Phone: 402-479-5931

Email: jeffrey.kasselman@nebraska.gov


Sample Message:


“I’m calling to urge that Ed Poindexter, #27767, be given appropriate medical care. I demand that be seen by an outside high ranking National Medical Association certified geriatric physician or team of physicians who specialize in heart, kidney, and geriatric health. I demand the evaluation include Ed’s entire condition: eyes, kidneys, diabetes, neuropathy, amputated leg, serious inability to balance his frame, and hearing. ”


You can read more about Ed Poindexter at:




Updates From Kevin Cooper 

March 23, 2023 

Dear Friends and Comrades, 

This is Kevin Cooper writing and sending this update to you in 'Peace & Solidarity'. First and foremost I am well and healthy, and over the ill effect(s) that I went through after that biased report from MoFo, and their pro prosecution and law enforcement experts. I am back working with my legal team from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP.

'We' have made great progress in refuting all that those experts from MoFo came up with by twisting the truth to fit their narrative, or omitting things, ignoring, things, and using all the other tactics that they did to reach their conclusions. Orrick has hired four(4) real experts who have no questionable backgrounds. One is a DNA attorney, like Barry Scheck of the innocence project in New York is for example. A DNA expert, a expect to refute what they say Jousha Ryen said when he was a child, and his memory. A expect on the credibility of MoFo's experts, and the attorney's at Orrick are dealing with the legal issues.

This all is taking a little longer than we first expected it to take, and that in part is because 'we' have to make sure everything is correct in what we have in our reply. We cannot put ourselves in a situation where we can be refuted... Second, some of our experts had other things planned, like court cases and such before they got the phone call from Rene, the now lead attorney of the Orrick team. With that being said, I can say that our experts, and legal team have shown, and will show to the power(s) that be that MoFo's DNA expert could not have come to the conclusion(s) that he came to, without having used 'junk science'! They, and by they I mean my entire legal team, including our experts, have done what we have done ever since Orrick took my case on in 2004, shown that all that is being said by MoFo's experts is not true, and we are once again having to show what the truth really is.

Will this work with the Governor? Who knows... 'but' we are going to try! One of our comrades, Rebecca D.   said to me, 'You and Mumia'...meaning that my case and the case of Mumia Abu Jamal are cases in which no matter what evidence comes out supporting our innocence, or prosecution misconduct, we cannot get a break. That the forces in the so called justice system won't let us go. 'Yes' she is correct about that sad to say...

Our reply will be out hopefully in the not too distant future, and that's because the people in Sacramento have been put on notice that it is coming, and why. Every one of you will receive our draft copy of the reply according to Rene because he wants feedback on it. Carole and others will send it out once they receive it. 'We' were on the verge of getting me out, and those people knew it, so they sabotaged what the Governor ordered them to do, look at all the evidence as well as the DNA evidence. They did not do that, they made this a DNA case, by doing what they did, and twisted the facts on the other issues that they dealt with.   'more later'...

In Struggle & Solidarity,

An immediate act of solidarity we can all do right now is to write to Kevin and assure him of our continuing support in his fight for justice. Here’s his address:

Mr. Kevin Cooper

C-65304. 4-EB-82

San Quentin State Prison

San Quentin, CA 94974



Call California Governor Newsom:

1-(916) 445-2841

Press 1 for English or 2 for Spanish, 

press 6 to speak with a representative and

wait for someone to answer 

(Monday-Friday, 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. PST—12:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. EST)






The writers' organization PEN America is circulating this petition on behalf of Jason Renard Walker, a Texas prisoner whose life is being threatened because of his exposés of the Texas prison system. 

See his book, Reports from within the Belly of the Beast; available on Amazon at:


Petition: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/protect-whistleblowers-in-carceral-settings



Sign the petition:




Tell Congress to Help #FreeDanielHale


I’m pleased to announce that last week our client, Daniel Hale, was awarded the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence. The “Corner-Brightener Candlestick” was presented to Daniel’s friend Noor Mir. You can watch the online ceremony here.

As it happens, this week is also the 20th anniversary of the first drone assassination in Yemen. From the beginning, the drone assassination program has been deeply shrouded in secrecy, allowing U.S. officials to hide significant violations of international law, and the American Constitution. In addition to the lives directly impacted by these strikes, the program has significantly eroded respect for international law and thereby puts civilians around the world in danger.

Daniel Hale’s revelations threw a beam of light into a very dark corner, allowing journalists to definitively show that the government's official narrative was a lie. It is thanks to the great personal sacrifice of drone whistleblowers like Hale that public understanding has finally begun to catch up to reality.

As the Sam Adams Associates note:

 “Mr. Hale was well aware of the cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment to which other courageous officials have been subjected — and that he would likely suffer the same. And yet — in the manner of his famous ancestor Nathan Hale — he put his country first, knowing what awaited him at the hands of those who serve what has become a repressive Perpetual War State wreaking havoc upon much of the world.”

We hope you’ll join the growing call to pardon or commute Hale’s sentence. U.S. citizens can contact your representatives here.

Happy new year, and thank you for your support!

Jesselyn Radack
Whistleblower & Source Protection Program (WHISPeR)

Twitter: @JesselynRadack



Laws are created to be followed

by the poor.

Laws are made by the rich

to bring some order to exploitation.

The poor are the only law abiders in history.

When the poor make laws

the rich will be no more.


—Roque Dalton Presente!

(May 14, 1935 – Assassinated May 10, 1975)[1]

[1] Roque Dalton was a Salvadoran poet, essayist, journalist, political activist, and intellectual. He is considered one of Latin America's most compelling poets.







A Plea for the Compassionate Release of 

Leonard Peltier

Self Portrait by Leonard Peltier

Video at:


Sign our petition urging President Biden to grant clemency to Leonard Peltier.




Email: contact@whoisleonardpeltier.info

Address: 116 W. Osborne Ave. Tampa, Florida 33603



Resources for Resisting Federal Repression



Since June of 2020, activists have been subjected to an increasingly aggressive crackdown on protests by federal law enforcement. The federal response to the movement for Black Lives has included federal criminal charges for activists, door knocks by federal law enforcement agents, and increased use of federal troops to violently police protests. 


The NLG National Office is releasing this resource page for activists who are resisting federal repression. It includes a link to our emergency hotline numbers, as well as our library of Know-Your-Rights materials, our recent federal repression webinar, and a list of some of our recommended resources for activists. We will continue to update this page. 


Please visit the NLG Mass Defense Program page for general protest-related legal support hotlines run by NLG chapters.


Emergency Hotlines

If you are contacted by federal law enforcement, you should exercise all of your rights. It is always advisable to speak to an attorney before responding to federal authorities. 


State and Local Hotlines

If you have been contacted by the FBI or other federal law enforcement, in one of the following areas, you may be able to get help or information from one of these local NLG hotlines for: 


Portland, Oregon: (833) 680-1312

San Francisco, California: (415) 285-1041 or fbi_hotline@nlgsf.org

Seattle, Washington: (206) 658-7963

National Hotline

If you are located in an area with no hotline, you can call the following number:


National NLG Federal Defense Hotline: (212) 679-2811






1) Equal Access to Safe Medicines Is a Global Human Right

By Vidya Krishnan, Sept. 11, 2023

Ms. Krishnan, an Indian journalist specializing in health issues, wrote from Goa, India.

"There is a dirty secret in global health: Rich countries get quality medicines, the poor sometimes get poison."


Mel Haasch

In April, a pregnant woman died at a hospital in Kandy, Sri Lanka, of complications blamed on an anaesthetic manufactured in India. A few months earlier, Indian-made cough syrups were linked to the deaths of children in Gambia and Uzbekistan. Substandard medicines also were found this year in the Marshall Islands and Micronesia before they could do any harm.


These incidents in far-flung corners of the world reveal the contours of a global crisis of unsafe drugs that inordinately affects poor countries. Over the past two decades, India emerged as the “pharmacy of the developing world,” the leading manufacturer of generic drugs and medicines, producing more than 20 percent of the world’s supply. This has helped to make a range of medicines available to poor patients around the world who previously had to do without.


Today, however, India stands accused of distributing death, as its regulators fail to prevent the manufacture and export of substandard medicines. But this isn’t entirely a made-in-India problem. There is a dirty secret in global health: Rich countries get quality medicines, the poor sometimes get poison.


The problem lies mainly in regulatory inequities between rich and poor nations. Developed countries have well-funded regulators keeping an eye on the safety and quality of drugs. India’s output, however, is overseen by its Central Drugs Standard Control Organization, an opaque agency that has long faced allegations of mismanagement and corruption. Many developing nations don’t have the resources to properly vet imported medicines.


The World Health Organization estimated in 2017 that one in 10 medicines sold in low- and middle-income countries were thought to be substandard or falsified. Independent modeling studies based on those numbers indicate that this could result in as many as 285,000 children dying every year from malaria and pneumonia. The W.H.O. has not released more recent numbers, and there is limited data on exactly how much of this comes from India.


The global drug supply system is a vast and complex network. As of 2021, India manufactured 62 percent of the raw materials for drugs, known as active pharmaceutical ingredients. China manufactures 23 percent, and the United States and Europe make most of the remainder. These ingredients get shipped all over the world and are turned into drugs that have to be vetted by national regulators with varying levels of oversight and quality standards. The resulting medicines and vaccines enter intricate supply chains and end up being administered to pregnant women in Sri Lanka and coughing children in Gambia.


The recent deaths bring with them a strong sense of déjà vu. As H.I.V. spread in the 1990s, new antiretroviral treatments first developed in the United States were locked in patent monopolies, which kept prices high and delayed the introduction of affordable generics. The monopolies prevented these lifesaving treatments from getting to patients in Africa — where the H.I.V. crisis was snowballing — for nearly a decade. In 2003 alone, an estimated three million people in sub-Saharan Africa were newly infected, and 2.2 million died of AIDS. By 2004, the region — then home to around 10 percent of the world’s population — had close to two-thirds of all people living with H.I.V., some 25 million.


This tragedy led, however, to one of the greatest and least celebrated successes in global health.


By 2001, the Indian drugmaker Cipla had begun making an antiretroviral treatment that cost less than $1 a day. Patents on pharmaceutical products were not recognized under Indian law at the time, allowing India’s generic pharmaceutical industry to reverse-engineer H.I.V. drugs. It was a watershed moment. By 2002, the average annual cost of antiretrovirals plummeted from as much as $15,000 per patient in the 1990s to as little as $300 — and India was on its way to becoming the pharmacy of the world.


As Indian-made drugs began flowing across the globe, the W.H.O. in 2001 set up a groundbreaking program to monitor safety and quality, called the Prequalification of Medicines Program, or P.Q.P., which set global standards for H.I.V. medicines made by different nations. A year later, it was expanded to include medicines used to treat tuberculosis and malaria. With that, there was new hope in the fight against three of the biggest plagues of our time. The program is one of those unsung policies that keep the global health structure ticking.


The P.Q.P. effectively became a de facto drug approval authority for developing countries, and today it ensures the safety of over 1,700 medical products — including medicines, vaccines, diagnostics and a wide range of other medical and disease-control equipment. Yet it does not cover all “essential medicines,” a regularly updated W.H.O. list of hundreds of drugs ranging from antibiotics to opioids and anesthetics that are considered vital for any basic health care system.


The program should be expanded to cover all of these medicines. However, it relies largely on voluntary and potentially unsteady philanthropic funding from organizations like the Gates Foundation. Expanding it will surely require more funding, which should be borne by W.H.O. member states.


American and European regulators can and do conduct their own on-site inspections of foreign facilities churning out essential medicines. India has the largest number of Food and Drug Administration-approved plants outside the United States. But many developing nations remain vulnerable.


The recent deaths have drawn new attention to drug safety. The African Union is setting up its own drug regulatory agency. Last month, a Gambian government task force recommended suing the Indian government over deadly cough syrup. Yet the administration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India last month pushed a bill through Parliament that features lighter punishments for manufacturing substandard medicines, highlighting why individual nations cannot be relied on to address the problem.


India needs to clean up its act for its own good — its growth into a powerhouse of generic drug production has polluted its rivers with antibiotic waste, spawned dangerous superbugs and made it a global hot spot for drug-resistant tuberculosis. For the rest of the world, the main benefit of India becoming the pharmacy of the poor was to break Big Pharma’s control of lifesaving medicines. More cases involving deadly Indian-made medicines could undo that positive achievement by causing irreparable harm to the global reputation of cheap generics.


Our response to the Covid pandemic was far from perfect, but it showed that the world can come together during an emergency, scaling up vaccine production and vaccination rates. W.H.O. member states are now discussing a new pandemic treaty, which would have been unimaginable a few years ago.


For much of the pandemic the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom and other developed nations presented a unified stand to protect the patent monopolies of their Covid vaccine manufacturers. Similar urgency and solidarity must be shown toward the scourge of substandard medicines.


Equal access to quality health care, regardless of wealth, nationality or race, is a global civil rights issue. Until that right is ensured, millions will remain vulnerable to the next pandemic.



2) How Soaring Child Care Costs Are Crushing New Yorkers

Even upper-middle-class New Yorkers are struggling to pay for child care. The workers who provide it are struggling too.

By Eliza Shapiro and Asmaa ElkeurtiPhotographs by Maansi Srivastava, Sept. 11, 2023

The reporters heard from more than 150 families in New York City about the costs of child care and spoke with dozens of them.

People sit on steps carrying protest signs.
Parents and child care providers in New York City have protested Mayor Eric Adams’s decision to cut funding for a popular preschool program for 3-year-olds. Credit...Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

The soaring cost of child care is one of the few issues that unites New Yorkers across class lines. Pictured from left, Crystal Springs, who has two children, is struggling, as are Doris Irizarry, who closed her day care center, and Silvia Reyes, a nanny with a toddler of her own.


Not long after Crystal Springs started her new job at a large insurance company in Midtown Manhattan earlier this year, she realized that a much bigger chunk of her paycheck than she expected was going directly to child care for her 5-year old daughter.


Ms. Springs had dreamed that the job, which allowed her and her husband to make about $200,000 a year combined, would help provide a comfortable middle-class life for her family in Ozone Park, Queens. But as bills mounted and her daughter’s routine days off turned into emergencies, she felt stuck. Exasperated, she left the job she had fought so hard to get.


Around the same time, in the Castle Hill section of the Bronx, Doris Irizarry was struggling to sustain the day care center she ran out of her home. Expenses were rising every month, and she said she was making only about $3 a day for each of the six children who attended. She finally closed for good this summer after 25 years.


“This industry is going to die,” she said. “We cannot survive without the parents, and the parents cannot survive without us. We’re a unit.”


In a notoriously stratified city experiencing its worst affordability crisis in decades, the skyrocketing cost of child care is one of the few issues that connects working families across geography, race and social class.


All but the wealthiest New Yorkers — even the upper middle class and especially mothers — are scrambling to afford care that will allow them to keep their jobs. Median prices for nearly every type of child care in New York City have shot up since 2017, according to state surveys of providers. Montessori preschool programs can cost more than $4,000 a month in affluent neighborhoods, and working-class families are stretching their budgets to pay at least $2,000 a month for day care.


And the workers who provide child care are reeling from high costs and are leaving the industry. Many make just over minimum wage, leaving them barely able to afford to stay in New York City or pay for care for their own children.


Interviews with more than three dozen parents, nannies, day care providers and experts revealed a potentially devastating crisis for the future of New York City. In recent years, only the astronomical cost of housing has presented a greater obstacle to working families than the cost of child care, experts said.


A New York City family would have to make more than $300,000 a year to meet the federal standard for affordability — which recommends that child care take up no more than 7 percent of total household income — to pay for just one young child’s care. In reality, a typical city family is spending over a quarter of their income to pay for that care, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.


Though families and providers across the country face the same issues, few cities confront affordability challenges as profound as New York’s. In a city where a second income is all but required for most families, soaring costs strain a patchwork child care system made up of day care centers in family homes, preschool and after-school sites in public school buildings and nannies working in private apartments.


“If people can’t go to work knowing your child is safe, and not break your financial back to do it, then people can’t be here,” said Richard R. Buery Jr., the chief executive of the Robin Hood Foundation, a charity focused on fighting poverty in New York City. “If people can’t be here, they can’t pay taxes, and if people can’t be here, employers won’t be here.”


More than half of New York City families are spending more than they can afford on child care, including both lower-income and higher-income families, according to a recent study by Mr. Buery’s organization.


Losing families with young children


Though Mayor Eric Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul have each taken some action, the mayor’s decision to cut some funding for a free preschool program for 3-year-olds and his administration’s consistent delays in paying city-funded day care providers have exacerbated the issue. The end of pandemic-era federal funds to support child care providers later this month has left workers scrambling.


The long-term consequences for the health of the city are only beginning to be felt, but it is clear that there is a profound economic cost. Parents leaving New York or cutting work hours because of child care cost the city $23 billion in 2022, according to the city’s Economic Development Corporation.


New York is losing families with young children. Between 2019 and the end of 2022, there was a significant drop in the number of families with children under 5 living in the city, according to a recent analysis by New School researchers. Data has shown that Black families in particular have left in significant numbers, citing concerns about affordability. The city has also seen a sharp decline in its public school population.


Brittany Dietz and her husband were not planning to leave when they started researching day care centers near their Greenpoint, Brooklyn, home. They considered hiring a nanny or sharing a nanny with another family to reduce costs. Ms. Dietz, who works in advertising, was not impressed with the options, some of which would have amounted to a second rent. The cost of raising a child in New York helped persuade her and her husband to make their recent move to Cleveland, Ms. Dietz’s hometown.


There, she found six day care centers near their new home, all with space for her 18-month-old, and chose one that costs about $50 a day. Moving, she said, has “opened up a world of possibilities” for her family.


“Nothing really pushes you to leave the city until you have a kid,” she said. “If we could have made it work, we probably would have stayed.”


Rising costs, shrinking supply


The costs of care have risen as supply has contracted.


The issues that have long plagued the industry — high staff turnover and a shortage of workers caused by stubbornly low wages, and supply lagging behind parent demand — have only become more acute in the wake of the pandemic.


Some workers have moved to other low-wage industries that have been able to raise pay in recent years, and parents are feeling increasingly squeezed on costs.


The city lost at least a third of its child care workers since the start of the pandemic, and more than half of those who remain qualify for child care subsidies for their own children. The industry’s median hourly rate in the city is just $16.78, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and home-based workers make only $10.61 an hour. A quarter of child care workers in the city live in poverty, and the vast majority are women of color.


Gaping pay disparities between child care workers and public schoolteachers have been an issue for the last two mayoral administrations.


Ms. Hochul added $500 million in the most recent state budget to provide bonuses for child care staff and to help bolster recruiting efforts for centers, along with $100 million to expand child care in areas with few options, and has earmarked nearly $16 million to add new child care centers on city and state university campuses.


And Mr. Adams’s administration has used state funding for child care to provide subsidized vouchers that significantly reduce the cost of care for about 22,000 low-income children, a small fraction of the city’s roughly half a million young children. Starting next month, families of four must make less than $100,0000 a year to qualify and must demonstrate that they need child care because they are working or are pursuing employment or school.


But experts say that none of those efforts have tackled the core issue of extremely low wages for child care employees. Beyond raising pay rates, they said, the city and state could fully fund child care for 3-year-olds, ensure that providers are paid on time and give them more training, and make it easier for New Yorkers to open child care centers, including in their own homes, through tax credits and property tax abatements.


A burden on mothers


In interviews, several parents whose combined household income was $200,000 a year or more said nannies or day care ranked second on their monthly budget, after rent or mortgage. Many said they were unsure if they would stay in the city if they had a second child, especially those without family nearby to help with babysitting.


One family that earns more than $400,000 began making preliminary plans to leave the city after finding a day care in their Williamsburg, Brooklyn, neighborhood that would cost over $4,700 a month for one of their children to attend full-time in fall 2024.


The burden has fallen especially hard on mothers, many of whom said they had cut back their work hours, moved jobs to have more flexibility to work remotely or stared in disbelief at budgeting spreadsheets that showed well over half — and in some cases nearly all — of their monthly take-home pay going to babysitters or day care centers.


“I found myself apologizing for having to be a mother,” Ms. Springs, the Queens mother, who is now building her notary business, said of her time at the insurance company.


Her first week at that job coincided with her daughter’s school vacation, and she sensed her boss’s mounting frustration as she kept asking to work from home.


Some day care providers said they were deeply sympathetic to the parents they served and have created sliding-scale programs for some families who were struggling to pay day care costs.


Silvia Reyes, a full-time nanny, was making $19 an hour working for a family when she started eight years ago. Since then, everything in her life has gotten more expensive even as she has become the sole financial provider for her mother, her teenage brother and her toddler. Her rent in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, is about $2,000 a month and is set to rise again.


She asked the family she works for in Park Slope, Brooklyn, for a raise to $33 an hour, and they agreed. But even that rate, which is more than many other nannies receive, will not cover the cost of full-time day care.


She has set aside her hopes of having her son socialize with other children during the day, and he now stays at home with his grandmother while Ms. Reyes is at work.


“I can’t have the luxury of sending my kid to a day care if it would cost more than my rent,” she said. “If I don’t get paid well, I can’t afford living here and I can’t afford having my baby and my mom and my brother, and I have to look for another job.”


Irineo Cabreros contributed reporting.



3) Poverty Rate Soared in 2022 as Aid Ended and Prices Rose

The increase in poverty reversed two years of large declines. Median income, adjusted for inflation, fell 2.3 percent to $74,580.

By Ben Casselman and Lydia DePillis, Sept. 12, 2023

Workers inside an area with boxes of milk, produce and other items tacked high.
Volunteers at Common Pantry, a nonprofit food pantry in Chicago. Poverty soared last year as living costs rose and federal programs that provided aid to families during the pandemic were allowed to expire. Credit...Jamie Kelter Davis for The New York Times

Poverty increased sharply last year in the United States, particularly among children, as living costs rose and federal programs that provided aid to families during the pandemic were allowed to expire.


The poverty rate rose to 12.4 percent in 2022 from 7.8 percent in 2021, the largest one-year jump on record, the Census Bureau said Tuesday. Poverty among children more than doubled, to 12.4 percent, from a record low of 5.2 percent the year before. Those figures are according to the Supplemental Poverty Measure, which factors in the impact of government assistance and geographical differences in the cost of living.


The increases followed two years of historically large declines in poverty, driven primarily by safety net programs that were created or expanded during the pandemic. Those included a series of direct payments to households in 2020 and 2021, enhanced unemployment and nutrition benefits, increased rental assistance and an expanded child tax credit, which briefly provided a guaranteed income to families with children.


Nearly all of those programs had expired by last year, however, leaving many families struggling to stay ahead of rising prices despite a strong job market and improving economy.


The Share of Children in Poverty More Than Doubled


The poverty rate for those under 18 rose to 12.4 percent last year.


Share of each age group living in poverty


One pandemic program that did not expire was a temporary freeze in Medicaid terminations, a move that allowed the program to cover more Americans than ever. Because of that program, the share of Americans without health insurance matched a record low last year of 7.9 percent. But states are unwinding that temporary coverage, and the uninsured rate has probably increased in recent months.


The increasing cost of living added to the challenge last year. The poverty threshold, which is based on the cost of essential items like food and housing, rose sharply: A family of four living in a rental home was considered poor under the supplemental measure if the family’s income was less than $34,518 in 2022, up from $31,453 in 2021.


Higher prices didn’t just hit the poor. Median household income, adjusted for inflation, fell 2.3 percent in 2022, to $74,580, as the fastest inflation since 1981 overwhelmed the impact of increased employment and rising wages.


“People are working hard,” said Margaret O’Conor, who runs Common Pantry, a small food bank in Chicago. “They’re just not making ends meet, the cost of living is too much.” Rent in particular has soaked up a lot of people’s extra earnings.


Common Pantry, like many food banks, had demand explode during the pandemic and then recede in 2021, when people received stimulus checks, enhanced unemployment benefits and the child tax credit, among other assistance. Then, as those programs lapsed, demand began to climb again.


“2022 just threw us,” Ms. O’Conor said. “We were not expecting it. I don’t think any food pantry was really expecting it.”


The White House, in a blog post previewing the report, argued that more recent data “tell a more optimistic story.” Inflation has cooled in recent months, while the job market has remained strong and wages continue to rise.


The hot job market has had clear benefits for those able to take advantage of it. Many workers, especially in low-paying industries like hospitality and retail, experienced significant wage gains in 2022, in some cases by moving between jobs in search of better pay. Income for the poorest 20 percent of households — excluding tax credits and some other government benefits — rose 4.3 percent last year, adjusted for inflation. Income gains also outpaced inflation for the least educated workers.


Inequality, as measured by the ratio between the richest and poorest 10 percent of households, narrowed, as most of the decrease in median incomes came from those at the middle and top of the wage distribution. Racial gaps also shrank, as white households lost ground to inflation, while inflation-adjusted income was little changed for other racial and ethnic groups.


The “official” poverty rate — an older measure that is widely considered outdated because it excludes many of the government’s most important anti-poverty programs, among other shortcomings — was nearly flat last year, at 11.5 percent, reflecting the offsetting forces of higher prices and increased earnings of low-wage workers. By that measure, the poverty rate for Black Americans was 12.4 percent, the lowest rate on record.


U.S. Poverty Increased Last Year


The supplemental poverty rate — which accounts for the impact of government programs — increased to to 12.4 percent last year, surpassing the official poverty rate, which was 11.5 percent.


Share of the population living in poverty


“There has really been this resurgence in terms of the labor market fortunes of Black workers, particularly Black male workers,” said Michelle Holder, an economist at John Jay College in New York. “The most important element for people in my community is can we get a job, and if we can get a job, can we keep a job? And right now, both things look pretty darn good.”


But those unable to work, or unable to work full-time, faced a one-two punch of higher costs and lost benefits in 2022 — problems that have continued this year. Increased federal nutrition benefits, one of the last vestiges of pandemic aid efforts, expired last spring.


“Tight labor markets are incredibly powerful, they’re really important, but they’re not sufficient,” said Elisabeth Jacobs, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute.


When a high-risk pregnancy forced Amber Summers to leave her job in rural Southern Illinois in 2021, the expanded child tax credit provided a lifeline. The $250 monthly payments helped cover her mortgage and allowed her son, now 9, to play Little League Baseball for the first time.


“It was financial stability and stress relief for our family,” she said.


But when the payments lapsed at the end of 2021, the family’s finances quickly unraveled — especially after Ms. Summers’s husband, Tim, contracted Covid and lost his job as a cook. And while both of them have since returned to work, neither is receiving full-time hours, and they are falling further behind on their bills. Opportunities for better-paying jobs are limited in their area.


“The child tax credit helped pull our family out of poverty for such a short period of time,” Ms. Summers, 32, said.


Congress passed the expanded child tax credit as part of the American Rescue Plan, President Biden’s pandemic-relief package, in early 2021. But unlike with other Covid-era relief programs, which were always intended to expire once the emergency passed, supporters hoped to make the expanded child credit permanent.


That didn’t happen. Faced with united opposition from congressional Republicans as well as some conservative Democrats, Mr. Biden dropped his effort to extend the program at the end of 2021; a renewed push failed again last year. The rise in poverty in 2022, social policy experts said and the White House agreed, was the inevitable result of that decision.


Critics of the child tax credit and other pandemic aid have argued that the rapid rebound in poverty after the programs’ expiration is evidence that the progress made against poverty in recent years was, in effect, artificial. Michael Strain, an economist at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, argued that programs that offer incentives to work — such as the earned-income tax credit and the standard child tax credit — have led to more sustainable gains.


“Yes, this alleviated child poverty, but it didn’t really do a whole lot to encourage self sufficiency,” he said.


Progressives take a different lesson: Government programs can succeed in helping families meet their basic needs, but only as long as they remain in place.


“The last few years just illustrated in an incredible way the power of effective government intervention,” said Arloc Sherman, a vice president at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a progressive research organization. “The last couple years, through a plunge in poverty and what is now a record single-year increase in poverty in 2022, have shown that poverty is very much a policy choice.”


Margot Sanger-Katz contributed reporting.



4) What Does America Owe the Victims of Racial Terrorism?

By Charles M. Blow, Sept. 13, 2023


In a black-and-white photo, Sarah Collins Rudolph stares solemnly to the right.

Sarah Collins Rudolph at home in 2002. Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times

I met Sarah Collins Rudolph, a small woman nestled into a corded khaki sofa, last month in her darkened living room in Birmingham, Ala. The room is something of a shrine, commemorating the 1963 act of terror that killed four little girls but spared a fifth.


She was that fifth little girl. She survived the Ku Klux Klan bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham 60 years ago. Her sister and her friend were among the girls killed.


In the years leading up to that attack, white terrorists, raging against integration, were detonating bombs in Birmingham so often that the city earned an ignominious nickname: Bombingham.


Rudolph was 12 at the time. That day, the blast sprayed her body, including her eyes, with glass. She was found standing, stunned, in the rubble. She was rushed to a hospital. One eye was lost, but the other was saved, with glass still in it, the doctors afraid of removing it and taking the chance of plunging the girl into total blindness.


When she was told that the other girls had been killed, she told me, “I wanted to cry but all I could do was feel so hurt about it because I know that by my eyes being as it was, I couldn’t cry like I wanted.”


On her coffee table today is a picture of her at the time, in a hospital bed, her face scarred, with patches over both eyes. There is something in me — maybe the father, maybe just the human — that wants to soothe the child in that photo; to hold on to her, to cry over her.


Just days before the bombing, Gov. George Wallace complained that “white people nowhere in the South wanted integration,” and that what was needed instead was “a few first-class funerals.”


With the killing of those girls, Wallace got just that. Thousands attended their funeral and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who had sent Wallace a telegram excoriating him — “The blood of our little children is on your hands” — delivered the eulogy.


But Rudolph couldn’t attend because she was still in the hospital. For her, proper mourning was long delayed. Her trauma was enveloped by silence.


She explained to me that shortly after being released from the hospital, she was sent back to school “in a terrible situation” because she “didn’t get any counseling or anything.” Most of her classmates were sent away, out of fear, to live with relatives, and her own mother rarely spoke of what had happened beyond occasionally introducing her as “my baby that was in the bomb on 16th Street Church.”


She didn’t talk about the bombing until one day in her 40s, she said, when a preacher told her that he could see she had “a nervous condition” and “he told me that God was going to heal me.”


Since then, she has been speaking out, petitioning for what she believes she is owed: restitution from the state for her pain and suffering.


But it hasn’t come. Rudolph says that the only thing she has received after decades of medical bills is help from the county to replace her prosthetic eye, which she says was valued at $2,000.


Her husband, George Rudolph, interjected at one point in our conversation, his frustration with the situation apparent: “Right now, she still has to go to the eye doctor and pay out of her pocket. That shouldn’t be.”


Responding to Mrs. Rudolph’s demand for restitution, Gov. Kay Ivey of Alabama wrote a tepid apology in 2020 — addressed not to her, but to an attorney — full of platitudes and hedging about any possibility of restitution.


One of the things that strongly came across in our interview is that the couple feels disrespected, discounted and dismissed.


“She ought to be treated like 9/11, Mother Emanuel, Boston Marathon,” Mr. Rudolph explained. “Those families got compensated, but they won’t do it for Sarah. And what I don’t understand is, what’s so hard about that?”


Shortly after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, Congress established a victims’ compensation fund for individuals who were injured or relatives of individuals who were killed in the attacks. It was budgeted at $5.12 billion total for the 2002, 2003 and 2004 fiscal years.


Victims’ families and survivors of the 2015 murders at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, S.C., sued the federal government, charging that the F.B.I.’s background check system failed to prevent the shooter, a self-proclaimed white nationalist who wanted to start a race war, from buying a gun. He, too, was a terrorist. The case was settled for $88 million.


One Fund Boston was established after the terrorist Boston Marathon bombing, and it raised nearly $80 million from more than 200,000 donors to be paid to the survivors and the families of those killed by the bombing.


The Rudolphs also see themselves as victims of an act of terror — how else can you see it? — that the State of Alabama and the country have acknowledged, but have refused to provide compensation for.


This raises a very real question: What does America owe the victims of the country’s past racial terror?


This is part of the larger debate over reparations. So far, the answers have been wholly insufficient.


In 1994, 71 years after the Rosewood Massacre, the Florida Legislature passed a $2.1 million compensation package for survivors and their descendants, including direct payments and scholarships. For comparison, the families of those who died on Sept. 11 received an average of over $2 million, tax-free, per claim.


In July, an Oklahoma judge threw out a lawsuit from survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre seeking reparations. Twenty-three years ago, a state commission recommended reparations for survivors of the massacre. They never received that money, although some Tulsa high school students have received “reconciliation” scholarships, and in 2022, $1 million was given to three of the survivors by a New York nonprofit.


At the funeral of those little girls from Birmingham, King said that “history has proven over and over again that unmerited suffering is redemptive.” But history is also demonstrating that Black people who suffer racial injury are routinely denied indemnity.


And as the Rudolphs settle into their later years, they are acutely aware that time is running out for them to secure some form of restitution. As Mr. Rudolph said, “I’m hoping something will happen, you know, before we leave this earth.”



5) Iron Dust Could Reverse the Course of Climate Change

By John T. Preston, Dennis Bushnell and Anthony Michaels, Sept. 14, 2023

Mr. Preston is an investor and was the director of technology development at M.I.T. in the 1990s. Mr. Bushnell was the chief scientist at NASA Langley Research Center from 1995 to 2023. Dr. Michaels is an oceanographer and farmer who has conducted research on global ocean carbon and nutrient cycles since 1982.

Damon Winter/The New York Times

For a while it seemed switching to clean energy might be enough to stave off climate catastrophe. But even though the United States has cut coal-fired electricity use from 50 percent to 19.5 percent in the past 20 years, the growth of coal in the rest of the world and the rising demand for energy overall — not to mention the extreme weather we are all experiencing — make it clear that we desperately need another solution.


As crazy as it might sound, geoengineering the oceans by adding iron — in effect, fertilizing them — may offer the best, most effective and most affordable way not just to slow the march of global warming but to reverse its course by directly drawing carbon out of the atmosphere. The U.S. government needs to start testing it now, before the climate system spins off into an even more disastrous state.


This geoengineering would in many ways replicate a natural process that has been underway for probably billions of years. Here’s how it works: Iron-rich dust blows off the land and into the seas, fertilizing algae and plankton. The more they grow, the more they convert carbon dioxide in the air to organic carbon, some of which eventually sinks to the watery depths. Studies suggest that this natural process of increasing iron-rich dust in the oceans takes so much carbon out of the atmosphere that at some point along the way it may have helped bring on the ice ages. But human beings have interrupted that natural cycle. Though growing deserts send more dust into the ocean, agricultural practices to preserve topsoil have the opposite effect, keeping dust out of the ocean and likely, in our opinion, contributing to more warming overall.


Dust blowing into the oceans may have played a big role in the ice ages


The more iron dust there was in the ocean, the less carbon there was in the atmosphere and the cooler the average temperature on Earth.


There have already been a significant number of direct scientific experiments into this kind of geoengineering. From 1993 to 2009, about a dozen experiments used ships to deposit iron into ocean patches up to about 10 miles in diameter. The results showed that this approach could alter the exchange of carbon between the air and the sea, increasing the amount of carbon pulled from the atmosphere. They also showed the tremendous impact this approach could have, for a very low cost. One study found that each iron atom can catalyze reactions that convert up to 8,000 molecules of carbon dioxide to plankton or algae.


All of these prior experiments, however, were short-term, lasting only months, and tiny relative to the vastness and variability of the ocean. Key questions remain, including how long the carbon would stay in the ocean. A new round of experiments needs to cover a much bigger area, patches at least 200 to 500 miles in diameter, and continue over multiple years. If we did several of these experiments in parallel, in multiple oceans, we could potentially have answers within a decade or less. That would give us the best shot we’ve got against the catastrophic effects of climate change.


This kind of geoengineering has prompted two kinds of worries, both legitimate. First, activists and scientists feared geoengineering might give industries an excuse not to adopt cleaner technologies. Also, there was concern about inadvertent effects, including toxic algae blooms and impacts on commercially important fish species. In 2012 an entrepreneur added 100 tons of iron to the ocean and created a substantial short-term plankton bloom. Many scientists and policymakers worried about what else could happen if commercial entities scaled up without government oversight. By 2013 a de facto ban on this research was in place.


But today with the impacts of climate change around the world growing ever more dangerous, the most important question is how potential consequences of ocean fertilization compare to the damage we are already doing to the oceans and the rest of the planet by burning huge quantities of fossil fuels. The oceans are warming rapidly. A recent study, published in Nature Climate Change, estimated that even under a low-emission scenario, more than half of marine species are at high or critical risk of extinction by 2100. Coral reefs are at risk from acidification and warming of the ocean surface.


The National Academies recently recommended that we study this and other approaches, and the U.S. government has the capacity to support these studies at scale. It only needs the will and the budget.


The good news is that ocean fertilization should cost less than other options like solar radiation management, a geoengineering approach that has received far more attention, including a recent report from the White House. Ocean fertilization also reduces the ocean acidification that plagues coral reefs and shellfish and should have more long-lasting effects than solar radiation management.


We urgently need more aggressive measures to reduce atmospheric carbon on a large scale. Whatever questions ocean fertilization presents, they pale compared with what we already know about the escalating climate catastrophe if we continue on our current path.



6) In Poland, Testing Women for Abortion Drugs Is a Reality. It Could Happen Here.

By Patrick Adams, Sept. 14, 2023

A photo illustration shows a shadow of a hand reaching for a pill that has fallen through a hole in a piece of paper.
Aspen Mays for The New York Times

Nearly three years ago, Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal effectively ended legal abortion in the country. Since then, the Polish government has vigorously repressed the nation’s reproductive rights movement and ramped up surveillance of women who are suspected of terminating their pregnancies. Authorities have violently dispersed demonstrations, threatened activists with prison time and ordered doctors to record all pregnancies in a new national database.


Even before Roe v. Wade was overturned last summer, Poland’s draconian crackdown, which was spearheaded by the governing right-wing Law and Justice party, should have been alarming to American supporters of abortion rights. It was always possible that some aspects of what has happened there could happen here.


Now there are reports that laboratory tests to detect abortion drugs have not only been created in Poland but are, in rare cases, also being used there to investigate the outcomes of pregnancies. These tests are not yet known to be in use anywhere else in the world. But Americans would be wise to plan for the possibility that the technology could one day be adopted on this side of the Atlantic and used by law enforcement to suss out whether women have taken abortion pills — which are now banned or restricted in more than two dozen states.


Women in both Poland and the United States have increasingly relied on informal networks for access to mifepristone and misoprostol, the drugs typically used in a medication abortion. In both countries, women can easily find information online and via telephone hotlines about how to use them to safely self-manage an abortion. That information often includes tips for protecting yourself from being targeted by law enforcement, as has already happened to some women who took abortion pills or were suspected of doing so.


For years, reproductive rights advocates have assured American women that when these medications are taken by mouth, a doctor cannot determine whether they were taken to induce an early abortion because the symptoms are indistinguishable from a miscarriage and because the drugs don’t show up on toxicology screens.


But Polish scientists claim they’ve devised laboratory methods to detect both mifepristone and misoprostol in biological specimens, and a spokeswoman for the regional prosecutor’s office in Wroclaw confirmed that these tests have been used in Poland to investigate pregnancy outcomes.


In a paper published last October in the journal Molecules, a group of researchers at Wroclaw Medical University’s Department of Forensic Medicine and the Institute of Toxicology Research in Poland described a technique for detecting misoprostol acid, a substance produced by the metabolism of misoprostol, in tissue taken from the placenta and the fetal liver. Weeks later, they published a second paper describing the development of a “rapid, sensitive and reliable method” to detect the other abortion drug, mifepristone, in maternal blood. The studies were conducted as part of a state-funded research project started in 2022.


The researchers, one of whom identifies as pro-choice, wrote that they developed these tests in part out of concern that the availability of abortion pills on the black market poses a public health threat. But it is difficult to see how this form of testing has medical or public health value, given the well-documented safety and efficacy of abortion pills. In effect, it seems strictly punitive — to harass and intimidate people who self-manage their abortions and to collect evidence about anyone who helped them get pills. Under Polish law, women cannot be prosecuted for taking abortion pills, but you can go to jail for helping someone else get them.


Last March, a court in Warsaw found a human rights activist guilty of just that. Justyna Wydrzynska, a co-founder of the Abortion Dream Team, a Polish abortion rights group, was sentenced to eight months of community service for providing abortion pills to a woman in an abusive relationship.


That conviction, the first of its kind in Europe, brings to mind the situation in El Salvador, where abortion is banned under all circumstances, including when the pregnant person’s life or health is in danger, and in cases of rape. Women who suffer miscarriages and stillbirths in El Salvador are sometimes accused of homicide and sentenced to years or even decades in prison.


Now that Roe has been overturned, U.S. abortion-rights advocates are bracing for cases like these to become increasingly common in America. A small but growing group of abortion “abolitionists” are calling for women who get abortions to be charged with murder and criminally punished — even put to death. Some Republican lawmakers are listening; this year alone, more than half a dozen states have introduced legislation that would classify abortion as homicide, a strategy experts believe could gain greater support should others fail. One such existing effort: a serious legal challenge to the Food and Drug Administration’s nearly 25-year-old approval of mifepristone that threatens access to the drug across the country. (In mid-August, a federal appeals court panel upheld mifepristone’s approval but with significant restrictions on patients’ access to the drug. The ruling cannot go into effect until the Supreme Court weighs in.)


Amid these concerns, reproductive rights activists need to prepare for the possibility that testing for abortion drugs could happen here, too. Even the threat of such a test could have dire consequences for reproductive health, deepening distrust of the medical establishment and discouraging people from seeking care. Should prosecutors in Poland inspire copycats in American states, no health care provider should enable or support such a move.


The testing methods developed at Wroclaw employ what’s called tandem mass spectrometry, a sophisticated analytical technique regarded as the gold standard for the detection and quantification of chemical compounds in biological material. For decades, the significant cost of mass spectrometers and the technical knowledge needed to maintain and service the machines confined them to highly specialized laboratories. But as the technology has evolved, experts say, it’s become easier to use and far more accessible.



7) U.A.W. Prepares for Limited Strike Against Detroit Automakers on Friday

The union’s president, Shawn Fain, said negotiators were nowhere near an agreement and ruled out a contract extension while talks continued.

By Neal E. Boudette, Sept. 13, 2023

Shawn Fain, in a red shirt with the U.A.W. logo, greets workers outside a General Motors factory.
Shawn Fain, the United Auto Workers president, has told his members to be prepared to walk out at factories operated by the three big U.S. automakers. Credit...Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Barely 24 hours before the contract deadline, the United Auto Workers leader said Wednesday that his members were prepared for a strike against the three Detroit automakers — first at a limited number of factories, with the walkout expanding if talks remain bogged down.


The U.A.W. president, Shawn Fain, also ruled out any extension of the existing four-year contracts with General Motors, Ford Motor and Stellantis after they expire on Thursday night. “September 14 is a deadline, not a reference point,” he declared in an address to union members on Facebook Live.


He said the initial strike locations would be “limited and targeted,” and would be communicated to members on Thursday night ahead of a Friday walkout.


This tactic — a departure from the union’s usual strategy of staging an all-out strike against a single automaker chosen as a target — is intended to give the U.A.W. negotiators increased leverage in the talks, and to keep the manufacturers off balance.


“It will keep them guessing on what’s going to happen next,” Mr. Fain said.


Striking at even a handful of plants would disrupt the automakers’ production while ensuring that a large portion of the 150,000 U.A.W. members at the three companies continued to work and receive paychecks.


The union plans to pay striking workers $500 per week and cover the cost of their health insurance premiums. The union has a strike fund of $825 million, which would cover payments to workers in a full strike against all three companies for about three months.


In its initial proposal to the companies, the union demanded a 40 percent increase in wages over four years, on the premise that pay packages of the companies’ chief executives have on average risen that much over the last four years. The union has also sought regular cost-of-living adjustments that would nudge wages higher in response to inflation.


The union is also seeking pensions for all workers, improved retiree benefits, shorter work hours and an end to a tiered wage system that starts new hires at about half the top U.A.W. wage of $32 an hour.


The companies — each negotiating separately with the union — have made counterproposals raising wages by roughly half what the union is asking, according to Mr. Fain, and have done even less to satisfy the other demands.


After Mr. Fain’s announcement, General Motors issued a statement saying in part: “We continue to bargain directly and in good faith with the U.A.W. and have presented additional strong offers. We are making progress in key areas.”


Declaring that “the future of our industry is at stake,” Ford said it was “ready to reach a deal,” adding, “We should be working creatively to solve hard problems rather than planning strikes and P.R. events.”


Stellantis said it had presented its latest offer to the union on Tuesday. “Our focus remains on bargaining in good faith to have a tentative agreement on the table before tomorrow’s deadline,” the company said.


A week ago, the U.A.W. filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board saying G.M. and Stellantis had failed to respond to the union’s proposals and were bargaining unfairly.


Erik Gordon, a business professor at the University of Michigan who follows the auto industry, said a strike was very likely. “I think they can reach an agreement on wages,” he said, “but these other issues are complicated and can’t be resolved in the last 36 hours by splitting the difference.”


Mr. Fain’s 40-minute address was highlighted by citations from the Bible; memories of his grandfather, who was also a union autoworker; and plenty of fiery language.


“For the last 40 years, the billionaire class has been taking everything and leaving everybody else to fight for the scraps,” he exclaimed at one point. “We are not the problem. Corporate greed is the problem.”


He also showed a series of slides listing the union’s demands for wages, benefits, job security and other issues alongside what he said were the companies’ responses. And he contrasted his leadership team’s approach to the negotiations with that of the predecessors they ousted last year.


In the past, the U.A.W. leadership typically gave union members little information on the state of the negotiations until a tentative agreement was reached. Mr. Fain said that members were “fed up with the company-union philosophy” and that dealings with the companies would be transparent to union members, “not behind closed doors as in the past.”


The prospect of a large-scale strike comes as the automakers are reaping near-record profits but also contending with the transition to electric vehicles. G.M., Ford and Stellantis — the parent of Chrysler — are investing tens of billions of dollars to develop new technologies and electric models, build new battery plants, and retool older factories.


The union is concerned about the potential loss of jobs as a result of the transition. Electric vehicles — which don’t have components like transmissions or fuel systems — require fewer workers to produce.


All three companies are also building battery plants with partners that are not automatically covered by the U.A.W. contract. Workers at one G.M. battery plant in Ohio that started production late last year voted to join the U.A.W. and are negotiating a contract of their own with the company.


Kurtis Lee contributed reporting.



8) Battle Over Electric Vehicles Is Central to Auto Strike

Carmakers are anxious to keep costs down as they ramp up electric vehicle manufacturing, while striking workers want to preserve jobs as the industry shifts to batteries.

By Jack Ewing, Sept. 16, 2023

United Auto Workers union members, most wearing blue or red sweatshirts, hold up picket signs.
Members of the United Auto Workers union outside the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant, in Wayne, Mich., on Friday. Credit...Brittany Greeson for The New York Times

A battle between Detroit carmakers and the United Auto Workers union, which escalated on Friday with targeted strikes in three locations, is unfolding amid a once-in-a-century technological upheaval that poses huge risks for both the companies and the union.


The strike has come as the traditional automakers invest billions to develop electric vehicles while still making most of their money from gasoline-driven cars. The negotiations will determine the balance of power between workers and management, possibly for years to come. That makes the strike as much a struggle for the industry’s future as it is about wages, benefits and working conditions.


The established carmakers — General Motors, Ford Motor and Stellantis, which owns Chrysler, Jeep and Ram — are trying to defend their profits and their place in the market in the face of stiff competition from Tesla and foreign automakers. Some executives and analysts have characterized what is happening in the industry as the biggest technological transformation since Henry Ford’s moving assembly line started up at the beginning of the 20th century.


Nearly 13,000 U.A.W. workers walked off the job at three plants in Ohio, Michigan and Missouri on Friday after talks between the unions and the companies in three separate negotiations failed to result in agreements before a Thursday deadline. Pay is one of the biggest sticking points: The union is demanding a 40 percent pay increase over four years but the automakers have offered roughly half as much.


But the talks are about more than pay. Workers are trying to defend jobs as manufacturing shifts from internal combustion engines to batteries. Because they have fewer parts, electric cars can be made with fewer workers than gasoline vehicles. A favorable outcome for the U.A.W. would also give the union a strong calling card if, as some expect, it then tries to organize employees at Tesla and other nonunion carmakers like Hyundai, which is planning to manufacture electric vehicles at a massive new factory in Georgia.


“The transition to E.V.s is dominating every bit of this discussion,” said John Casesa, senior managing director at the investment firm Guggenheim Partners who previously headed strategy at Ford Motor.


“It's unspoken,” Mr. Casesa added. “But really, it’s all about positioning the union to have a central role in the new electric industry.”


Under pressure from government officials and changing consumer demand, Ford, G.M. and Stellantis are investing billions to retool their sprawling operations to build electric vehicles, which are critical to addressing climate change. But they are making little if any profit on those vehicles while Tesla, which dominates electric car sales, is profitable and growing fast.


Ford said in July that its electric vehicle business would lose $4.5 billion this year. If the union got all the increases in pay, pensions and other benefits it is seeking, the company said, its workers’ total compensation would be twice as much as Tesla’s employees.


Union demands would force Ford to scrap its investments in electric vehicles, Jim Farley, the company’s chief executive, said in an interview on Friday. “We want to actually have a conversation about a sustainable future,” he said, “not one that forces us to choose between going out of business and rewarding our workers.”


For workers, the biggest concern is that electric vehicles have far fewer parts than gasoline models and will render many jobs obsolete. Plants that make mufflers, catalytic converters, fuel injectors and other components that electric cars don’t need will have to be overhauled or shut down.


Many new battery and electric vehicle factories are springing up and could employ workers from the plants that have shut down. But automakers are building most aggressively in the South where labor laws are tilted against union organizers, rather than in the Midwest, where the U.A.W. has more clout. One of the union’s demands is that workers in the new factories be covered by the automakers’ national labor contracts — a demand that the automakers have said they can’t meet because those plants are owned by joint ventures. The union also wants to regain the right to strike to block plant shutdowns.


“We are at the dawn of another industrial revolution and the way we’re going is the way we went in the last industrial revolution — a lot of profit for a few and misery and not good jobs for the many,” said Madeline Janis, executive director of Jobs to Move America, an advocacy group that works closely with the U.A.W. and other unions.


“The U.A.W. is really taking a stand for communities across the country to make sure this transition benefits everybody,” Ms. Janis added.


Automakers have been racking up record profits during the last decade, but they cannot afford to lose time from work stoppages in their race to compete with Tesla and foreign automakers.


The three companies are already struggling to get their electric vehicle business going. A new G.M. battery factory in Ohio has been slow to produce batteries, delaying electric versions of the Chevrolet Silverado pickup and other vehicles. Ford this year had to suspend production of its electric F-150 Lightning in February after a battery caught fire in one of the pickups that was parked near the factory for a quality check. And Stellantis won’t even begin selling any fully electric vehicles in the United States until next year.


Those problems and Tesla’s growing sales could put the union in a strong position to extract a good deal.


On Thursday, in a sign that automakers are willing to go much further than they had previously, G.M. offered a 20 percent pay raise over four years. That is half of what the union is seeking but far more than workers received in recent contracts. President Biden on Friday strongly supported the union in remarks at the White House. The administration has been pouring billions into programs to promote electric vehicles and does not want a strike to delay a centerpiece of its climate policy.


Despite all the money that automakers have made in recent years, their executives express a profound unease about the growth of electric vehicles, which account for 7 percent of the U.S. new car market so far this year and are on track to surpass sales of one million this year. Managers are acutely aware that traditional companies like theirs have a poor track record of retaining dominance after a big change in technology. Witness the way that Apple sidelined Nokia and Motorola as cellphones became smartphones.


Auto company executives and most industry analysts underestimated how quickly electric vehicles would catch on and cannot confidently forecast how sales, which have been bumpy lately, will grow in the future. “I don’t think anyone can perfectly predict what the adoption will be,” Mary T. Barra, the chief executive of General Motors, said in an interview with The New York Times last month.


Speaking to “CBS Mornings” on Friday, Ms. Barra said an excessive pay raise would undermine G.M.’s ability to continue producing vehicles with internal combustion engines while also developing electric vehicles. “This is a critical juncture where investing is very important,” she said.


Still, unions and their supporters are unlikely to express much sympathy for auto executives. Ms. Barra, Mr. Farley of Ford and the chief executive of Stellantis, Carlos Tavares, have gotten tens of millions of dollars in compensation packages in recent years. The companies’ shareholders have been rewarded with dividends and share buybacks.


Unions “are not going to have a lot of patience for sob stories,” said Karl Brauer, executive analyst at iSeeCars.com, an online marketplace.


Adjusted for inflation, wages for autoworkers in the United States have fallen 19 percent since 2008, according to the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning research group.


At the same time, union officials are aware of the changes in the industry and have said they do not want to handicap G.M., Ford and Stellantis as the companies try to recover ground they have lost to Tesla, which has aggressively resisted attempts to unionize its factories. The Detroit carmakers also face challengers like Rivian, a start-up that makes electric pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles in Illinois, as well as foreign-owned rivals like Mercedes-Benz and Toyota, whose U.S. factories, mostly in the South, are not unionized.


“That’s the biggest challenge here,” Mr. Brauer added, “trying to commit to a long-term contract in an industry that is very uncertain and unpredictable over the next five years.”


Union supporters say it would be wrong to blame workers if the traditional carmakers cannot compete with Tesla and other rivals.


“If you look at the breakdown at what it costs to build an E.V., labor is a very small part of the equation. Batteries are the most,” Ms. Janis of Jobs to Move America said. “This idea that the U.A.W. is going to price Ford, G.M. and Stellantis out of the market is not true.”


But other analysts said that a long work stoppage could help Tesla and foreign automakers gain ground on G.M., Ford and Stellantis.


“If something happens to disrupt their business, does that give a leg up to the emerging electric vehicle makers?” said Steve Patton, who overseas the consulting firm EY’s work with auto companies. "Who stands to benefit if there is a protracted strike?”



9) Will California Apartment Association’s Billionaires Club Destroy California?

As a result of Big Real Estate’s destructive handiwork, California’s housing affordability and homelessness crises have only worsened.

By Patrick Range McDonald, Sept. 16, 2023

Billionaires Club members Barry Altshuler of Equity Residential, AvalonBay Communities Chairman Tim Naughton, and John Eudy of Essex Property Trust. (Housing Is a Human Right)

A new Housing Is A Human Right investigation has found that a group of multi-billion-dollar real estate companies have shelled out millions to the California Apartment Association’s political committees, aiming to upend state and local political races and to kill renter protections. It’s these corporate landlords who call the shots at the CAA. The only question now is will the CAA’s Billionaires Club destroy California?


Over the years, Housing Is A Human Right has published numerous articles about corporate landlords using the California Apartment Association to carry out their dirty work. Most prominently, major real estate companies and the CAA spent a staggering $175.4 million to stop Proposition 10 in 2018 and Proposition 21 in 2020 – the statewide ballot measures would have ended rent control restrictions in California.


As a result of Big Real Estate’s destructive handiwork, California’s housing affordability and homelessness crises have only worsened. Homeless deaths have increased in Los Angeles and other major cities in California, and there are more rent-burdened tenants in the Golden State than anywhere in the United States.


It’s why we recently deemed the California Apartment Association and corporate landlords public enemy number one.


For the new investigation, Housing Is A Human Right examined the make up of the California Apartment Association’s board of directors and Big Real Estate’s campaign contributions to the CAA’s political committees. It’s something the mainstream media have too often ignored, with catastrophic results for middle- and working-class Californians.


Unsurprisingly, the CAA’s board is made up of high-powered executives from major real estate companies, several of whom are among the largest corporate landlords in the U.S. These executives give the marching orders to California Apartment Association CEO Tom Bannon and his staff, including CAA Executive Vice President Debra Carlton, CAA Executive Vice President Joshua Howard, and CAA Senior Vice President Fred Sutton.


In 2023, the board of directors include Barry Altshuler of Equity Residential; Bradley Johnson of Greystar Management Services; Brian Gagan of AvalonBay Communities; John Eudy of Essex Property Trust; Carter Powell of Camden Property Trust; and Christopher Van Ens of UDR. Johnson is the president elect of the CAA board.


With billions in assets, Equity Residential, Greystar, AvalonBay Communities, Essex Property Trust, Camden Property Trust, and UDR are all ranked in the National Multifamily Housing Council’s top 50 largest apartment owners in the U.S.


Executives from other multi-billion-dollar real estate companies also sit on the CAA’s board: Michelle Grande of Irvine Company Apartment Communities; Ronald Granville of Woodmont Real Estate Services; Elif Kimyacioglu of Prime Group; and John Millham of Prometheus Real Estate Group, among others.


Forming a kind of Billionaires Club, these executives direct the California Apartment Association’s unrelenting effort to kill tenant protections at the state and local levels. And their real estate companies fund that anti-renter agenda by delivering big-time cash to the CAA’s political committees.


In 2022, for example, Housing Is A Human Right found that corporate landlords and other landlords sent campaign contributions, through the CAA’s political committees, to local and state politicians in 51 of California’s 58 counties. Big Real Estate shelled out the cash to shape housing policies and to stop pro-renter legislation.


It’s all done to protect and grow the billions in revenue the corporate landlords make off California tenants by charging unfair, excessive rents.


In fact, Big Real Estate will go to any length to grab bigger profits. Essex Property Trust, Camden Property Trust, Greystar, and Equity Residential are major players in the ongoing Realpage Scandal by allegedly working within a cartel of corporate landlords to wildly inflate rents. The scandal has resulted in Congressional members calling for federal investigations and more than 20 federal lawsuits have been filed by tenants in California and other states.


Housing Is A Human Right has now found that between 2019 and 2023, Essex Property Trust, Equity Residential, and AvalonBay Communities, among others, have delivered millions in contributions to the California Apartment Association’s four political committees: the CAA Political Action Committee, the CAA Issues Committee, the CAA Independent Expenditure Committee, and the CAA Housing Solutions Committee.


Carrying out a kind of shell game, the CAA regularly moves corporate landlord money from one committee to another, trying to hide the identities of its Big Real Estate contributors.


In 2021 and 2022, for example, Equity Residential delivered $1.4 million to the CAA Independent Expenditure Committee; Essex Property Trust shelled out $1.8 million; AvalonBay Communities handed over $671,033; UDR gave $500,206; and Prime Group delivered $543,505. In 2021, Irvine Company shelled out $210,000 to the CAA Political Action Committee.


The CAA then moved that campaign cash from the Independent Expenditure and Political Action committees to the California Apartment Association Housing Solutions Committee.


In 2021 and 2022, the California Apartment Association Housing Solutions Committee raked in an astounding total of $5,269,750 from the CAA’s Political Action and Independent Expenditure committees.


The CAA Housing Solutions Committee then spent millions to support or oppose the campaigns of numerous politicians in the city and county of Los Angeles, Alameda County, and the city of Santa Ana. But the corporate landlords’ names weren’t attached to the political spending – only the name of California Apartment Association Housing Solutions Committee.


The CAA and Big Real Estate have pulled that slick shell game for years, trying to upend the democratic process in California.


Since 2019, Equity Residential has delivered $1,604,074 to the California Apartment Association’s political committees; AvalonBay Communities has shelled out $751,548; Woodmont Real Estate has given $407,438; Essex Property Trust has forked over $2,330,350; Prime Group has contributed $655,913; Camden Property Trust has given $147,275; Irvine Company has delivered $335,510; UDR has shelled out $743,966; and Prometheus Real Estate Group has contributed $350,137. In total, that’s a whopping $7,326,211.


PG&E Corporation, JB Matteson, Frank T. Suryan Jr., Spieker Companies, Sequoia Equities, Sares Regis Operating Company, AIMCO Properties, Griffis Residential, Hudson Pacific Properties, billionaire Geoff Palmer, Jackson Square Properties, Kilroy Realty, General Investment & Development, the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties, Greystar Management Services, Windsor Communities, Acacia Capital Corporation, the California Association of Realtors PAC, Holland Development, E & S Management Corporation, Douglas Emmett Properties, R & V Management Company, and other major groups and landlords have also contributed eye-popping cash to the California Apartment Association political committees, adding up to even more millions.


Shocking stuff, but the mainstream media constantly fail to report what Big Real Estate and the California Apartment Association are up to.


The California Apartment Association has also used the real estate industry’s campaign cash to influence state politicians. The result has been that housing justice activists have never been able to reform the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act through legislation in Sacramento. In 1995, Costa-Hawkins created statewide restrictions on local rent control policies.


The inaction by state legislators forced a broad coalition of housing justice groups, social justice organizations, labor unions, and civic leaders to try to end Costa-Hawkins through statewide ballot measures – Proposition 10 in 2018 and Proposition 21 in 2020.


The initiatives were spearheaded by Housing Is A Human Right and its parent organization, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, but the California Apartment Association and corporate landlords killed Prop 10 and Prop 21 through massive, supremely funded misinformation campaigns that confused voters.


Among other corporate landlords, Essex Property Trust shelled out $26.2 million to the No on Prop 10 and No on Prop 21 campaigns sponsored by the California Apartment Association and run by Big Real Estate executives; AvalonBay Communities delivered $17 million; and Equity Residential gave $17.9 million.


Since state politicians still refuse to act, Housing Is A Human Right and AIDS Healthcare Foundation are leading another broad coalition to repeal Costa-Hawkins and expand rent control through a 2024 statewide ballot measure called the Justice for Renters Act.


Already, UNITE HERE Local 11, Veterans’ Voices, Social Security Works, the California Nurses Association, the Pasadena Tenants Union, ADA – Southern California, and labor and civil rights icon Dolores Huerta have endorsed the initiative.


Rising up to confront Big Real Estate, the coalition refuses to allow the California Apartment Association’s Billionaires Club to destroy California. By expanding rent control, the predatory business practices and runaway greed of corporate landlords will finally be reined in.


Housing Is a Human Right



10) Anguish in an Immigrant Community After a Sheriff’s Deputy Kills 2 Teens

The sheriff in Syracuse, N.Y., had said his deputy acted in self-defense, but footage of the shooting cast the account into question.

By Jesse McKinley, Sept. 18, 2023

Mourners bow their heads in church, where two coffins covered in white cloths stand in front of them.
Members of the South Sudanese community attended Dhal Apet and Lueth Mo’s funeral at St. Vincent De Paul Church in Syracuse, N.Y., on Saturday. Credit...Benjamin Cleeton for The New York Times

They buried them both on Saturday: a pair of identical gray coffins, wheeled out of a hillside church and into the adopted hometown of many of the mourners.


The two dead — Dhal Apet, 17, and Lueth Mo, 15 — were part of the South Sudanese community here in Syracuse, second-generation émigrés whose parents and friends had fled violence in their home country to come to the seeming safety of upstate New York.


For many, however, that sense of security was shaken early on the morning of Sept. 6, when the two teenagers were shot and killed by a Onondaga County’s sheriff’s deputy responding to a call of suspicious activity at a parking lot in neighboring DeWitt, N.Y. The authorities had been investigating reports of two stolen cars and a burglary at a local smoke shop in the hours before the shooting.


The Onondaga County sheriff, Tobias Shelley, said in a news conference that the deputy — identified as John Rosello, 34 — had been investigating the burglary and believed the car to be the one involved in that crime. After receiving the call of suspicious activity, the deputy arrived at the parking lot and shot into the car three times as it sped away, with the teenagers inside, after it drove toward him.


The two teenagers were later found nearby, one already dead, the other dying. The car’s driver had disappeared, but Sheriff Shelley referred to both of the deceased teenagers as suspects in the burglary, saying that things had happened “very quickly and hectically.”


He has justified the shooting, saying that Deputy Rosello had acted in self-defense. He was trapped between the vehicle and a heavy metal-and-wood workbench sitting in the parking lot, Sheriff Shelley said. “He had nowhere to flee to,” the sheriff said, adding, “The deputies have a right to defend themselves by whatever means necessary.”


But that narrative was punctured, in part, when the state attorney general, Letitia James, released security footage on Tuesday showing the deputy ramming the car and easily evading it before shooting. The deputy was uninjured.


Sheriff Shelley did not respond to a request for comment after the attorney general’s report, but Ms. James’s Office of Special Investigation is conducting an investigation into the incident. The Onondaga County district attorney, William Fitzpatrick, has said he is deferring to Ms. James. “The truth and facts will eventually be known,” Mr. Fitzpatrick said.


The impact of the deaths has already reverberated through the community of African-born residents and their descendants in Syracuse, which — like many upstate cities — has welcomed thousands of refugees and other émigrés in recent decades.


Chol Majok, a member of the Syracuse Common Council who is a former refugee from South Sudan, said his focus at the moment was not to cast blame but to hold his community together.


“When we came to this country, we were looking for second chances in life,” he said, adding, “There is tremendous faith, in our community, in this country. And everything it has to offer.”


He added: “We have been just trying to tell to the community, especially as people that are in a position of leadership that are South Sudanese, is that we keep the faith, the faith that helped us cross the oceans and brought us to this land, that that faith still shines and still burns. And that’s what we lean on.”


Still, the pain of the deaths is palpable. Reached by phone, Pothwei Bangoshoth, the father of Dhal, the 17-year-old who died, said he was too grief-stricken to speak about his son. But his anger seemed clear on Facebook, where he posted a pointed message along with the video released by Ms. James’s office.


“It’s one of the ways that police use to murder teenagers in America,” he wrote. “So, watch out for your child. My child has already passed. Let’s stop this police brutality in our society.”


Walt Dixie, a prominent local activist, said he was appalled and bewildered by the deputy’s actions before backup arrived. “Why are you trying to take this on all by yourself?” Mr. Dixie said, adding, “To ram a car in like that? I know that’s not how you do it.”


The sense of outrage extends beyond the African population, said H. Bernard Alex, the president of the Syracuse Chapter of the National Action Network, noting what he called a sometimes adversarial relationship between the sheriff’s department and the city’s broader Black community.


“They are angry because — as one young man said to me — he said, ‘I knew that this was coming, but I didn’t think it would be kids,’” Mr. Alex said.


Mr. Alex and others in his organization were particularly troubled by the fact that the deputy had not turned on his body-cam, saying in a statement last week that the actions of the sheriff’s office have “diminished the public trust” between “the African and African American communities who call Syracuse and Onondaga County home.”


Mr. Alex — who is also pastor of Victory Temple Fellowship Church, a Baptist church in Syracuse — acknowledged that there are sometimes divisions between traditional Black communities and newly arrived African residents in Syracuse.


“They have to try to fit in somehow with African Americans, in school and neighborhoods ,” said Mr. Alex, whose wife is Liberian. He said that “African Americans are not always kind to Africans.”


Others in the African community say that the challenges of living in a new environment — with daily stresses like money — can be steep.


“What happens is that most of these kids, they don’t have the support that they need,” said Hanson Goeso, a Liberian who is the founder of a local semiprofessional soccer team. “Family working, dad is working, and so now you have kids raising themselves with the influence of the outside world. And you get situations like this.”


At the site of the shooting, in a downtrodden mobile home park, some said that they felt sympathy for both the teenagers and the deputy. William Marvin, who lives about 300 feet from the shooting site, says he heard the gunshots that morning, which alarmed his dog, Bear.


“I don’t like how it’s being spinned that the cop is a kid killer,” said Mr. Marvin, 50, a driver who is a volunteer firefighter, adding, “When someone is behind the wheel of a vehicle, you got a split second to think, you don’t realize how old they are, it doesn’t cross your mind.”


He added: “For everybody to paint this sheriff out to be some bad guy, he’s not. He was doing his job to be protecting the community he’s serving.”


The funeral services on Saturday, held at a Catholic church on Syracuse’s north side, drew several hundred mourners, who listened as the pastor, Severine Yagaza, a Tanzanian, spoke of the pain of the family and the deaths of two “sons of Sudan,” whose oversized portraits sat on easels nearby.


As the coffins were wheeled away, several of the mourners broke down, weeping into each other’s arms as the procession to the burial began. Two of those standing outside the church were Riny Ayol, 39, and Lueth Yak, 46, both of whom were from South Sudan and know the families.


Mr. Yak said that the South Sudanese community “never thought they would go through this” in Syracuse, considered one of the “best places to live.”


“We never thought that it would hit the South Sudanese in Syracuse,” Mr. Yak said. “The Syracuse community has been a welcoming community, we feel at home here,” adding that some Sudanese who move elsewhere end up moving back.


Mr. Ayol echoed that, expressing both sorrow at the boys’ deaths and the circumstances, still murky, of that morning.


“The crime that happened, it’s not worth taking someone’s life,” he said.


Susan Beachy contributed research.



11) Striking Autoworkers Are Cool to Biden’s Embrace

The president has highlighted his pro-union credentials, but inflation has eroded blue-collar livelihoods and chilled support for the president on the picket lines.

By Trip Gabriel, Sept. 18, 2023

United Auto Workers members conversed as they gathered on a picket line Sunday outside the Jeep Toledo Assembly Complex in Toledo, Ohio.
United Auto Workers members conversed as they gathered on a picket line Sunday outside the Jeep Toledo Assembly Complex in Toledo, Ohio. Credit...Emily Elconin for The New York Times

President Biden, who calls himself the most pro-union president ever and has sided with striking United Auto Workers — calling for “record contracts” as the union walked out on Friday — has yet to convince many rank-and-file U.A.W. members that his sentiments are more than just nice-sounding words.


That was the prevailing view in interviews with two dozen striking workers for Ford and Jeep in Michigan and Ohio this weekend. Many, including some who voted for him, said inflation had so undercut their wages that they felt pushed out of the middle class, laying the blame with Mr. Biden.


Despite the president’s “middle class Joe” persona, and his potential 2024 rival Donald J. Trump’s record and rhetoric undermining unions, many autoworkers were not convinced that the current Oval Office occupant was the one more forcefully on their side.


“I can’t tell when he speaks to the public if he’s being told to say it or if he’s genuinely saying it,” Jennifer Banks, a striking worker, said of Mr. Biden’s pro-union remarks on Friday during which he unequivocally backed the U.A.W.


Ms. Banks, a 29-year Ford employee, was picketing on Saturday at the company’s vast Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne. A sign outside Gate 2 warned, “Absolutely no foreign vehicles allowed!”


The ambivalence toward Mr. Biden underscores an ongoing challenge to his re-election, as Democrats try to stanch any more bleeding of blue-collar support after three years of inflation and high interest rates.


Mr. Trump, in the meantime, has continued to appeal to union voters, renewing his attacks on China, immigrants and liberal priorities like renewable energy, issues that fueled his historically large inroads with white, working-class voters in 2016 and 2020.


Ms. Banks, 50, a political independent who voted for Mr. Trump in 2020, said that in a potential rematch between him and Mr. Biden she would be torn, because she doesn’t like much of what Republicans stand for.


“I think our president is not as strong a president as we need,” she said. “I’m hoping somebody can replace him. I hope it doesn’t leave me no choice but to vote the other way.”


An hour’s drive south of Wayne, Beverly Brown was the strike captain for a team of workers who attach the hoods to Jeeps at the massive Toledo Assembly Complex in Ohio. “No Justice, No Jeeps” was written on a vehicle’s window. Ms. Brown, 65, voted for Mr. Biden but said that when it came to backing working people, “I don’t think he’s doing enough.” Neither did she view Mr. Trump as an ally of working people, saying, “Everything he’s done up until now proves otherwise: He’s for the rich.”


On Friday, 13,000 workers at three Midwest plants, owned by Ford, General Motors and Stellantis — the parent of Jeep and Chrysler — walked out in what the U.A.W. called a targeted strike, demanding nearly 40 percent raises over four years, the end of a two-tier system in which newer workers get lower pay, and the restoration of benefits that the union gave up during the Great Recession in 2008.


Despite Mr. Biden’s decades-long emphasis of his roots in Scranton, Pa., and his well-honed brand as a hero for the middle class, strikers did not necessarily see him as their champion. Their wages, which range from $18 to $32 an hour, have eroded significantly amid rising prices, many said, with an apparent political cost to the White House.


A lengthy strike that reduces the supply of cars and drives up prices could force the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates high, with repercussions for Mr. Biden’s re-election.


“Back when I hired in here, there was a middle class,” Garth Potrykus, 68, a longtime electrician in the Ford plant, said. “The middle class — they’re gone.”


Ford, he said, hires waves of temporary workers who earn below fast-food wages. “They might hang around two or three weeks, then they go down to McDonald’s and they make more money,” he said. “How are those people ever going to afford the, quote, American dream?”


Mr. Biden has centered his re-election campaign around the idea of “Bidenomics,” his record of infrastructure, high tech and clean energy spending aimed at creating good industrial jobs and shrinking income inequality. Despite those broad policies, Mr. Potrykus, eyeing his own expenses, said he didn’t see either Democrats or Republicans as fighting for the working class.


“I don’t think either party is really interested in that,” he said. “It’s a war on us now. You’ve got the super rich and then you’ve got the poor.”


That many union workers don’t automatically align with Democrats and reject Republicans, who often support policies that suppress blue-collar pay, has confounded Democratic strategists since at least the era of the Reagan Democrats of the 1980s. Large numbers of Republicans in Congress last year sponsored legislation to weaken organized labor by allowing workers in all 50 states to opt out of union dues.


Mr. Trump, who also supports “right to work” laws, has a mixed record on organized labor. In office, he renegotiated a North American trade deal to give more protections to American workers. But lately he has attacked U.A.W. leadership, saying in an interview broadcast Sunday that its leaders, along with the carmakers and the Biden administration, were in cahoots to force a transition to electric vehicles made in China.


While union leaders almost universally endorse Democrats for president because of their pro-labor agendas, a sizable rank-and-file contingent votes Republican, often over conservative social issues.


In 2020, Mr. Trump won about four in 10 voters in union households, according to exit polls and an internal survey by the A.F.L.-C.I.O. Michael Podhorzer, a former longtime A.F.L.-C.I.O. political director, said that was hardly surprising. “The demographics of union members are the ones who’ve been trending away from Democrats for quite some time,” he said. This is particularly true of industrial unions.


Mr. Trump emphasized “a set of issues that union members never agreed with Democrats on,” most prominently immigration, Mr. Podhorzer added. Despite the trend, union members still tend to vote five to 10 points more Democratic than similar voters who are not in unions, he said.


“People don’t join unions because they’re Democrats or liberals,’’ Mr. Podhorzer said. “People are in unions because that’s where they work.” It’s misguided to expect that “they should be voting like MoveOn members,” he added, referring to the progressive policy group and political action committee.


But the union’s membership is not monolithic in its voting patterns. Younger strikers, and particularly nonwhite U.A.W. members, were not as critical of Mr. Biden. Anthony Thompson, 54, said that he, too, struggled to make ends meet, in part because his wife, Uleana, has lupus and medical costs mean the family ends up living paycheck to paycheck.


But Mr. Thompson, who joined Ford two years ago and has worked up to $20 an hour, did not blame the president. “I would say he’s doing the best under the circumstances that he can,’’ Mr. Thompson said.


Jason Grammer-Gold, 42, a striker at Jeep, said that Mr. Trump’s promises to rebuild the industrial heartland “was all talk” and that he left office with little to show for it.


“I don’t feel Trump is for the working American at all,” he said. “His presidency was to get his taxes down.” Mr. Grammer-Gold said that he, his husband and their adopted child recently moved from Ohio across the border to Michigan to live in a state where Democrats control government. “Republicans are passing tons of anti-gay laws,” he said.


Outside Gate 2 at the Jeep plant, two longtime workers who met on the strike line, Ronald Flores and Frank Luvinski, each said their pay didn’t go as far as it used to, but they had opposite views of Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump.


“In 2018, I felt like I had finally gotten ahead,” Mr. Luvinski, 52, a Trump supporter, said. “I finally had money in my bank account. And now, I make more money than ever, and I have less. My energy bill just doubled in June.”


Across the street, Mr. Flores, 56, had parked his white Jeep Gladiator pickup. “We built that right on the line,” he said. Peeling back a piece of interior carpet, he showed where co-workers signed their names on painted steel.


Mr. Flores’s grandfather, son and multiple cousins have been union autoworkers, jobs that helped them build comfortable lives. He drew an analogy between his employer, whom he respects, his truck and Mr. Trump’s campaign promises.


“If you say you want to make something great again, when you leave, greatness should continue,” he said. “You leave a legacy. Like Jeep has a legacy. The brand speaks for itself.”